Friday, December 13, 2013

Chiropractors. Is this Snake Oil or do they do anything?

I have a problem with my neck/spine that may require me to go under the knife.  I would rather not have my neck sliced open and my vertebra pummelled/replaced and so, in common with many people in a similar situation, I am looking in other directions for a "cure".  I have seen a Chiropractor twice now (at a cost) and, apart from an ok'ish massage, I am failing to see what benefit it brings.

Clicking a device (a bit like a weak automatic centre punch) against my spine will not (as far as I can tell) achieve (“adjust”) anything.  Selling me a foam pad and telling me some exercises to do may help, but definitely lines the Chiropractors pocket with 40 more of my pounds (I did not go with that idea!.)  I am doing the exercised with my own “scientifically” designed foam pad (that did not cost £40).

“Adjusting” my posture, in the way that it apparently is being done just seems like voodoo.

I am a simple person.  I can understand that if something us not right you do something that changes something and it then things are better than they were.  If a computer or a machine is broken I can replace a part or reset some settings and then it works.  This is often a process of trial an error and sometimes makes things worse before they get better.  Standing on the outside shouting incantations will not help.  Running pseudo diagnostic scanners or fake virus scanners (lots of them about) achieves nothing apart from making the person who wrote the scanner, or who is charging for running it, richer.

I am sorry to say that, so far, the Chiropractor feels like the latter and the surgeon feels like the former.
Our local chemist (who apart from being a grumpy old git, also seems to know his stuff) is vehemently of the opinion that much of this alternative stuff is bunk and I should go with the surgeon (he is also of the opinion that they are all quacks and I should go for a second (surgical) opinion).

The only thing that is for certain is that I am in pain and it will only get worse.  I can delay the op for a while, before they drop me off the list and I have to start the whole tedious process again.

I can really understand how vulnerable people are duped in to paying a fortune for “treatments” that do nothing and delay getting real help.  I will be carrying on with the Chiropractor for a few more session, if it works on me then maybe there is something to it.

Why am I writing this?  Not sure really.  Maybe I want some other opinions, maybe someone can convince me that this is not all quackery and I am not being duped.  Or maybe someone will convince me that the op is safe (ish) and I am right in the opinion that is slowly crystalizing.

Anyone got any contacts in the neurological unit of Queens College Hospital?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cyclists beware?

 Yesterday was a great ride in to the City.

Most traffic lights had coppers to "advise" cyclists.

I have NEVER seen so many cyclists STOPPING for RED lights!


Riding home was a different story. No coppers so no stopping. Hmmm....

And this morning?

Same old, same old....  At every red light a gang of cyclists.  Some Stop, Some Pause, Some just carry on as if it is a green.  It's a kind of Russian roulette on wheels.

For ages Lorries have had reversing warnings.  First it was a beep, now it is a voice that says "Vehicle Reversing!!".  Today I came across a lorry that blared "Vehicle Turning Left" at me as it (guess what??)  TURNED LEFT.  The yellow flashing things, what are they called?  Oh yes... INDICATORS were also flashing, telling me that it was TURNING LEFT.

What next?  A man (let’s not be sexist) or woman walking in front behind, left and right of every lorry carrying a red flag and shouting "lorry coming!", "lorry slowing", "lorry passing" etc.....

I am out on a motorbike most days and see such stunning acts of stupidity and carelessness that I am lost for words (I have not been at any of the recent incidents and so cannot make any valid comment about the circumstances, I am speaking in general terms (It goes without saying that I am sorry for the families of the cyclists that have been killed on our roads, it is a terrible loss and I feel for you)).

Cars are the worst (actually push bikes are, but let’s not labour the point).  They pull out without looking, stop for no readily apparent reason and deliberately block the road so that Bikes (motor) can’t pass.  I have seen cars, that have been over taken by several bikes (in traffic) move over in to the gap so that other bikes cannot pass.  Car’s jumping red lights, closely followed by bikes (push) that must have jumped the light by an even larger margin.

The roads are what they are.  Painting Blue Bicycle Super-Highways will not change that and will not make more road space.  Perhaps, over time, as new roads are built and old roads are redeveloped, the planners can devise a way to magic some reserved space for each class of vehicle.  Until then is it beyond the wit of man for us to coexist?

There is a kind of natural hierarchy that is imposed upon us by the laws of nature.  Much like the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  A motorbike in collision with a car will lose.  Metal box Vs Me (I have no chance).  A car in collision with a Lorry will lose.  Hard metal Vs Soft metal.  It goes without saying Cyclist Vs Lorry…

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation (I have been knocked off and can say, with some level of certainty, the road is hard!  It hurts when you hit it!  Lorries are hard, it sounds like a silly statement, but how many of us have touched a lorry?  Try it.  Cars deform when you push them.  Lorries do not.)  Look after yourself and just keep as far as is possible away from things (machinery) that can seriously hurt you (however inadvertently).

The thing that many Motorbike riders hear as they lie on the road waiting for the ambulance… “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”.

Oh and one last thing.

Lycra.  It's not a good look.

MAMIL's please cover up.

Physician heal thyself

Today I have given myself a major shock and have, fortunately, been able to recover.

A very important container of information (Microsoft OneNote – if you are interested) disappeared from my laptop!  I do not know how that happened, but such is life.

After a short period of running around screaming (metaphorically).  I started to work out what to do about it.
The Backup files were not where they should be, or rather they were, but did not contain what I needed.  

Fortunately I suffer the paranoia of someone that has lost data before, and try to adhere to a 3-2-1 backup strategy, so (after some digging) I managed to find a recent backup in a different location.

An hours fiddling and I am back to where I should be.

There is the outside chance that some of the data is a day older than it should be.  And Steve, my business partner, may well have edited some of it in the last day.  But we are in a far better position than we could have been.

I have rejigged my backups to take into account what when wrong this time. 

The morel of this story?


And make sure that your backups take all your data, it is not always where you think it is.

Me thinks it is time for a beer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

At Last a Resolution

There has been a long hiatus in this discussion as I have been doing more interesting things.

Shortly after my last missive an engineer from Solus turned up with guess what… The part that Chrysler (Fiat!) told me that I has imagining!

Apparently it DOES exist and I did not make it up.

They have not apologised for calling me a liar.  But at least I have my tow eye!

Incidentally, over a year of playing silly buggers has ended up with us getting a payment for all the agro.  I do not understand why it has taken so long.  Aviva, RAC, Octagon and Irwin Mitchel have bounced this round the houses, lost paperwork, lost the account, not talked to each other (Irwin Mitchel have take this to a new level), but finally we have reached the end.

This was a simple case, no argument, the chap admitted it was his fault.  Wonder what happens when it is contested?

Actually I know.  I got rear ended by a lorry, they argued (not sure how as he hit me in nose to tail traffic!) and Aviva dumped on me, did not argue and just caved in (thank you Proddow Mackay for NOTHING!).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Response from Tesco

Hi Cosma,

Thanks for confirming your contact number. Would you mind letting me know what the reason is for the expected callback? I'd appreciate if you could provide me with more information so that I can explain this to the store.

Kind Regards,
Chrissie - Customer Care


My Reply…

I have actually just spoken to someone that identified himself as the Petrol manager. The reason was 2 fold. Initially it was because one of your pumps poured my money all over my car, my tire and my foot and I wanted to bring it to you attention. Then it transitioned to "why are Tesco NOT responding" .

According to you manager all the pumps are ok. Which does not explain what happened. One of the pumps did not stop. I have been filling cars for over 20 years and this has never happened to me before, except in one other case when the pump was broken. So either I made it up or there is a defective pump in Eastbourne and just because no one else has complained (you do realise that many people do not complain, they just go elsewhere for their fuel) they will not address it. Either way Not good.

The Eastbourne manager made the requisite apology, with no indication that he actually meant it, told me the pump was fine and said did I want some dry cleaning.

A better approach would have been a, respond quicker, b, tell me that he would take a look at the pump (even though I know he will not). Or do I come from an old school of customer service where the customer is always right and he comes from a modern school where the customer is always wrong?


They have replied to my last missive.

Hi Cosma,
Thank you for your comment. We appreciate all views on our walls, positive and negative alike; after all without constructive feedback we wouldn’t be able to continue to improve our service for customers.
To make sure the online community on the page remains helpful and friendly we have set some Community Rules, please see the link here;
These rules cover things like, treating each other the way you would like to be treated and not posting links to non-Tesco sites. There are a few more examples which you can read by clicking on this link so feel free to have a look for more information.
We welcome your open discussion but would appreciate it if you could please keep these rules in mind while posting on our wall.
With regards to your phone call I have spoken to the duty manager who is extremely concerned that this individual has not called you and is in the process of contacting him as we speak with regards to this.
The duty manager is doing all he can to ensure you get your phone call which would be in all likelihood be tomorrow morning I'm sorry.
Kind Regards,
Rich – Customer Care

Well it’s 12:42 and they still have not contacted me!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tesco’s, What little help!

Sunday, I foolishly decide to fill my car at Tesco in Eastbourne.

The pesky pump decided not to stop and so a quantity of fuel makes it way over the side of my car, the tyre, the floor and my foot.


Does not look like much in the picture, but trust me, it was all over the place.

I went into the shop and complained and was told that Richard the petrol manager would call me.

Then it gets tedious…  I just posted the following on the Tesco FB page.

“Please tell me why it is that I had to wait from Sunday, until today for a manager to NOT call me from Eastbourne.

Then tell me why it took a further  20 minutes of my day calling the store and your "help" desk, navigating an auto-attendant to reach someone that wanted to get rid of me as soon as possible!

Guess what….

I am STILL waiting for a call (2 hours later!!)

Is that what passes as customer service at Tesco??

And we have not even started trying to address the reason I called in the 1st place.

Is Tesco's ploy to ignore customers or put them through tedious auto-attendants until they either get fed up and give up or lose the will to live?”

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is technology adding value to our lives?

I was sitting on the train this morning watching two people (obviously friends) sitting next to each other, both furiously stabbing away at their phones. Overhearing their sporadic exclamations it became apparent that they were both engaged in the same conversation with a third party via Facebook.

It strikes me as sad that they did not put the bloody phones down and TALK to the person they were with. Or maybe CALL the third party, have the conversation and finish.

We spend more time 'Chatting' to people we have never met (and probably will never meet) than we do talking to people right in front of us.

Now don't get me wrong. I love technology and have made a career out of it, but I do feel that it is getting beyond intrusive. We can't go out without someone 'checking in' (OK, hands up if you have never done this. I have so this is a person in a glass house throwing stones). We can't have a meal without taking a picture and rating it (actually this is not one of my vices).

I am out with my six year old today. I will admit to taking pictures and posting them, but I am competent enough with tech for each one to take seconds to do. Unlike a chap I was held up behind, that took ten mins to work out how to use his camera while his poor kids sat looking bored and the queue behind him (with me in it), trying to get into a vintage carriage, grew ever longer.

We all seem to be living somewhere else while our lives are happening here (we are almost observers' to our lives while living vicariously through the lives of others). Now I may appear to be a hypocrite, blogging while out with my son, but , in my defense, he is on a train simulation at the mo.

The Book "Lucifer's Hammer" is a great indication (if somewhat extreme) of what could happen.  We live in a world of technology that NO ONE knows how to build, operate or maintain.  Perhaps we need to teach our kids what makes a bus go and how to build a generator?  Perhaps we need to talk to each other, before we forget how.

How many people have managed to keep an email conversion going beyond 2 or 3 exchanges?  There was a time that I exchanged Letters with friends round the world for many years, but along comes the internet and something that should have been made easier has petered out and finally ground to a halt.

While technology has allowed me to maintain better communications with some people in America it seems to have killed communications with some friends in North London!

I guess what I am saying is that, wonderful though the brave new world is, we do need to remember the way we used to do it and, sometimes, the older ways are "better".

I still remember the anticipation of receiving a letter from a friend or collecting a roll of processed film....